Thursday, 27 September 2012

Du kannst mich nicht dem Gericht ausliefern!

From Berlin, Manuel Brug reports that Olga Neuwirth’s American Lulu – abridged, yes, from that Lulu, and due to be premiered at the Komische Oper this Sunday – has been threatened by a last-minute injunction: the installation artist Stan Douglas claims that a Lulu dealing with themes of racial discrimination in America was originally an idea he developed, and one which Neuwirth lifted after the two fell out in 2008 (they had collaborated on the project since 2006 and a planned premiere, for which he created video art, never came to pass). Douglas is now claiming ownership of the concept, insisting that he wants to continue work on it with a different composer. The Komische Oper is in no doubt however that his €500,000 injunction won’t get very far. A statement reads ‘we are convinced that Stan Douglas has not played the smallest part in American Lulu and therefore can have no success with his claim ... we are confident that the premiere will take place.’ (As they well would claim to be, Brug adds, with a new production on the line).

There is more information about the opera in English on the KOB’s website. I do hope it doesn’t get cancelled as I really wanted to see it, probably in June now rather than November. A number of people have been fiddling with Lulu, so to speak, since the copyright expired, but of all those who have had a go so far I trust Neuwirth the most to do something interesting and intelligent. Obviously if Douglas is proven to have had some input he should get the credit he is owed, but with this composer a plea is put fittingly in Lulu’s own words:

Du kannst mich nicht dem Gericht ausliefern! Alwa, verlang was Du willst! Lass mich nicht der Gerechtigkeit in die Hände fallen! Es ist schade um mich! Ich bin noch jung. Ich will Dir treu sein mein Leben lang. Ich will nur Dir allein gehören. Sieh mich an, Alwa! Mensch, sieh mich an! Sieh mich doch an!

UPDATE: Douglas’s claim has been considered by a district court in Berlin and rejected, leaving American Lulu free to have her onstage day in court (actually showing a film of the trial has surely never been more topical).

1 comment:

  1. I thinks his claims are authentic basis his reputation. Totally understand that he can`t back up these claims and of course there`s no copy rights on interpretations. Mr.Douglas is black and Olga`s Austrian,,,think about it!!!!